Biography

A great name of the Portuguese theatre, Adelina Abranches was paid a national homage at the Teatro São Luiz as of 1928, and in the presence of General Carmona, the President of the Republic himself. And yet there had been nothing to suggest that Margarida Adelina, born into very poor Lisbon family in 1866, would become such an admired star of the stage. The fact is that, like at the end of a Dickens novel, fate, through a quirk of which it holds the secret, proved favorable to her despite a very problematic beginning in life. Indeed misery had struck after her father had left the family home, forcing his wife, little Adelina and her eight brothers and sisters to work in order to bring back home what little money they could. But the silver lining was that to get a few reis, five-year-old Adelina, still unable to read and write, was propelled on to a stage. Of course she was only an extra in 'Os Meninos Grandes' but she enjoyed the experience and soon expressed the wish to renew it, which she would actually go on doing for... seventy-odd years! She was still only eleven when she created a sensation with her interpretation of a transvestite prince in 'Leonor de Bragança'. After this, she never stopped working, until her death in 1945 at age 79, in Portugal and in Brazil, in classic, popular or avant-garde works. She even founded her own company in the 1910s. As for her contribution to the silver screen it unfortunately remains negligible, the great lady of the Portuguese boards having appeared only in secondary roles and in no more than three pictures, 'Maria do Mar (1930)', 'Lisboa (1930)' and 'A Rosa do Adro (1938)'. But theatre was her vocation, not cinema.